Monday, 13 August 2012

Olympics: London 2012

After many years of anticipation, the London 2012 came and delivered, like a very efficient delivery person - more UPS, than Royal Mail - but like most deliveries, it's not whether or not they delivered, it's what they delivered, and if it was what you ordered. It'd be impossible to please everybody, so here's my take it on the Olympic games.

On purely a sporting basis, the London 2012 was arguably the most exciting games in the history of the Olympics. There were countless moments when heros and heroines were made, from the more obvious names such Gabby Douglas, Usain Bolt, and Mo (Mo' Medals) Farah, to the more unknown names like Celine DuMerc, captain of the French women's basketball team, who - standing at a mere 5'7 (which short in basketball terms) - led her team to the Finals with marvelous displays of skill, courage and tenacity. Also, Liz Cambage of Australia, the first ever woman to do a slam dunk in the Olympic games. Though the latter didn't make the news, these really were a games to remember.  

The organisation was really good. I - like most Londoners - was expecting the city to implode, particularly the transport system, but it held together really well. The coverage, in my opinion, was amazing. There was a free downloadable BBC Olympics app where you could watch any event live on your mobile, not to mention, the interactive channels dedicated to each sport. 

Team Jamaica stole the show in the athletics. Despite the criticisms, Usain Bolt was able to prove those who doubted him wrong, especially to those who disagreed with his showmanship. The only opinion I have about that is - I'll paraphrase the great Muhammed Ali - it's not showing off if you can back it up. And Bolt delivered, like a very efficient delivery per... oh, you get the drift. 

One of my favourite moment was watching Mo Farah "take on the Africans" - the commentators so eagerly reminded the viewers - in order to win both golds. I'm not sure what this kind of rhetoric proves but it did inspire a thought. What if there were a Team Africa and/or a Team African Diaspora? How would this influence the medal count? I decided to take a look. 
As much as I would have liked to have done a complete analysis, due to certain constraints I limited it to the United States, Great Britain and France. I looked at how many medals were won by African descended or African diaspora athletes on their respective teams. The results were interesting. Primarly, taking into consideration the US, GB and France, there were a total of 40 medals won by said athletes: 14 Gold, 12 Silver 14 bronze (26 medals for the United States, and 7 for GB and France respectively). However, this does not include team sports or doubles events. Focussing on the United States, African American athletes contributed for  approximately 35% of the medals won - not including team sports or doubles - which without, could potentially send the United States out of the top 10 of the medal rankings. Just an interesting insight at the potential that exists. 
Of course, it is to be said, that multiculturalism is celebrated at these times, and it is a beautiful moment when people can come together to support and encourage one another regardless of nationality. This brings me to my favourite moment of the Olympic games. 

This picture tells a story, particularly in the context of global politics. The world is a beautiful place when we put people before politics,when we are not defined by the politics of our nations, and when we consider that which brings us together, as opposed to that which separates us. Obviously, this did not make the news. 

Rio, what do you have in store for us?


During the closing ceremony, did anyone else find it ironic when Jessie J sang "it's not about the money, money, money..." whilst being chauffeured around in a Rolls Royce?

I would have liked to have seen her sing it from an X reg Peugot 206 or better yet, with an Oyster card, while she jumps on a bendy bus - how could they not include a bendy bus at least once in the ceremony - and avoids tapping in. That would have captured the true spirit of "it's not about the money", but I guess it was about the money after all. 


  1. Interesting point you raised there about the medal count - it just goes to show how involved people of African descent are in sports while representing those countries... I know it doesn't do much for the social stance of black people in the U.S., UK and FR but it was nice to see athletes of African descent be regarded as important, even if it was only for two weeks or so.

  2. Yes, of course! If only that status transcended into the every day existence of all who are in the diaspora.